'It's an opportunity of a lifetime'

Boxing: Vijender postpones his trip to World meet to receive Khel Ratna award


Vijender Singh

Vijender was due to leave for the Championships in Milan with the rest of the nine-member Indian team on August 27 but the Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) has pushed his departure to the night of August 29 to allow him to attend the function.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I did not want to miss it at any cost. To get the country’s highest sporting honour from the President is something that I did not wish to let go,” Vijender told PTI.

Apart from him, the Indian boxing team’s assistant coach Jaidev Bisht, selected for the Dronacharya award, will also depart for the Championships, scheduled from September 1, after receiving his award.

IBF Secretary General PK Muralidharan Raja said the federation had requested for a separate function for the two after their return from the Championships but didn’t get a clear response from the Sports Ministry.

“We had sent a letter to the Ministry but they didn’t tell us whether the President would give the award to them at a later day. The Ministry stated, ‘we have taken note of your request’,” Raja said.

“Then I spoke to Vijender and asked what he wanted. He said he would like to attend the ceremony.

“So, the IBF has revised the departure schedule of both Vijender and Jaidev Bisht,” Raja added. Vijender insisted that his arrival in Milan just a day before the event would not affect his performance.

“I will fly to Milan on the night of August 29 and will be there on August 30. The weighing-in for the Championships is on August 31 and I am confident I would be able to acclimatise,” said Vijender.

In a first in Indian sports, three sportspersons would be getting the country’s highest sporting honour.

Apart from Vijender, four-time world champion woman boxer MC Mary Kom and Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar have been selected for the honour.

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